27 Mayıs 2023 Cumartesi

The New Approach to Client and Bank Engagement: The Rise of the Human Assisted Digital

Dear Readers,

As we have already known, there are physical and digital channels which have been known and used by the clients for almost two decades. This is not correct just for the banks but all companies who should differentiate their services to reach their customers upon their channel preferrences. 

After the origination of digital channels such as internet branch or mobile branch and the invention of ATMs and VTMs, we tend to label the customer as digital or non-digital depending on their channel choice. Therefore, we received stretching targets on increasing the number of mobile branch customers and lowering the number of presences of customers in the branches. That was the way that we have put our targets regardless of the customer expectations. 

However, we have discovered that almost all customers are ready for transacting through digital if they are served seamless and secure. This phenomena needed a process from physical to digital in which trust is built between the client and the bank. The expectation of the customer is to discover the right service from the right channel where the bank is forcing the customer to jump directly to digital. 

So, which one is correct?

- To make the customer to jump directly to digital or 

- To teach and help the customer as they will sometimes need directions to perform transactions. 

I believe the second one is correct. If the company is able to teach how their digital services are helping the customer both in easy and secure way, almost all customers will definitely prefer to use these services. But, during this transition the company should be patient and helpful (Note: Banks have been doing this for the last 10 years). This means that we need a customer progress through the following process in four stations. That means that we must adress the customer engagement not only by digital or non-digital but as follows:

The pure physical: In this step, the client comes to the branch to make some transactions. Most of the transactions can be handled though digital but due to some legislations there are still needs to go to branches in Turkey. This is the most costly engagement between the client and the bank but due to several reasons we still need branches. In addition to legal requirements, the clients may still prefer to handle the transactions face to face in the branches because they don't believe these will be secure in digial. So, the bank should build trust in the customer mind. Moreoever, the client may want to proceed in a big deal so he or she wants to take a close consulting for not to make any mistake. This is the most costly way of interaction with the bank. It is not costly for the bank but also for the client due to its time consuming aspect. 

The phygital: In this phase the customer still comes to the branch or any presence of the bank to make a transaction. Rather than making the transaction through a bank teller, the customer may prefer to use a machine such as ATM or a type of VTM. Here, there is still a physical presence but the need for a human is limited so this option is more cost free than the first option. But still the total cost of the transansaction is high.        

The human assisted digital: In this step, the customer is getting a remote service through his or her mobile or a machine. The agent or the representative of the bank is located either at the head office or at home. Therefore, there is still need for a person to pick up the call. However, since this person is not assigned for a specific bank branch but responsible for a wide geographical area, the costs plunge down compared to the first to alternatives. The digital onboarding or VTM calls provide remote but inperson engagement between the client and the representative. The staff is able to make cross sales and the customer is able to talk about his/her requirements. 

The pure digital: In this last step the client does every transaction though a digital platform without nudging any bank staff. If the bank's platform is available, the customer can make daily transactions, get advices from AI backed bots or apply for new products. This is the most cost free phase of the customer journey from physical to digital. 

Every bank dreams to have perfect digital services to attract all of their customers to pure digital engagements. However, some of the banks make a huge mistake to force the customers to jump from either from the first or the second phase to directly pure digital phase. In many circumstances this resulted with the following outcomes:

- The customers complain about not geting enough information due to the inefficient AI backed bots   

- The number of the products in the digital platforms either are not ready or do not provide good customer experience. 

- The customer does not feel the human touch that eventually increases the anxiety in the process.

The above issues show that the third phase which is called as the human assisted digital is very important to warm up the digital engagement of the customers where they will see how they complete the digital transactions end to end. Furthermore, it will be a very good chance for the banks and the legal authorities to prepare / allow all products to be served in digital.    

To sum up, we can claim that the third phase is not a cost but an investment for the future. 

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